To begin, a fact: every student at Covenant College has opinions, and many of them. Not a single one of you showed up this fall completely free of opinions. Sure, there is variance in how strong, loud, thoughtful, annoying, ridiculous they all are, but they’re there. Each one of you cares about different things, finds different things preferable, even thinks different things are wrong or right; this is indisputable.
To continue, a likelihood: you will never have as loud of a voice, in your respective communities, as you do now at Covenant College. After college, your life will begin to decentralize. No longer will you work, study, eat, sleep, and socialize all in the same place. Your influence will be spread thin. Your boss will oppress you, your kids will find you old-fashioned and embarrassing, and only a select few people in the entire world will care what you have to say.
Considering those two things, I want you to arrive at this conclusion: I have a unique opportunity to ram my opinion down the throats of everyone I eat, sleep, and go to school around. And you do! The Opinion section of the Bagpipe enthusiastically offers it to you, but not free of charge.
To be published, your opinion does not need to be conventional, (please, make it outrageous; it is far more fun.) but it does need to be well-crafted. Make your argument clear (and make it an argument, not an open letter to a well-known, Christian, indie musician) and structured. You want people to know what your opinion is, otherwise your writing will confuse rather than convict.
Next, make your argument gracious and thoughtful. Before you unleash a vitriolic attack on the administration or a fellow student, put yourself in their shoes and imagine how bad it would feel to be on the butt-end of someone’s public rage. (Side bar: if your argument starts to morph into a personal attack, it will actually become weaker.)
Finally, have a sense of humor about your argument. Be satirical or self-deprecating; make yourself seem human by cracking a joke here and there. Humor will help you avoid seeming stuffy or angry. Most on-campus controversies, serious or not, involve some ridiculous component and are satire and joke goldmines.
The Bagpipe is here to help you share your opinion, to give you a voice. You—the student body—make up most of Covenant College. Your thoughts regarding college-wide issues should absolutely be heard. Please take advantage of this unique opportunity to influence many spheres of your life in one fell swoop. Write about something you notice, something you read, or something that is close to your heart. It could be that some of your tuition dollars went towards an oversized, expensive golf-cart/Transformer, or that our board of trustees is only comprised of men, or even just that there are no outdoor trash cans anywhere on campus. Do not be afraid to make your opinion known, just do so with skill, grace, and humor.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas for an article you would like to write.